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The French Revolution
Transcript of The French Revolution
The Estates General
Louis XVI had been managing France's money poorly and was forced to call the first Estates General (government meeting) in 175 years to discuss what to do.
All three estates were called to the meeting. The First Estate had around 300 members there, the Second Estate had around 300, and the Third Estate had around 600. They all voted to decide how to change the voting system and taxation system.
Voting was deadlocked and after several days the Third Estate broke away from the Estates General and claimed they were going to represent the people of France. They were going to be called the National Assembly.
The Start of the Guillotine
King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were put on trial as traitor's to France. They were convicted and sentenced to death. King Louis XVI was beheaded as he was speaking. Marie Antoinette was months later with more dignity.
The Declaration of The Rights of Man and The Citizen.
The National Assembly finally came up with a document as a new constitution after hours of argument and discussion in Paris.
Declaration of The Rights of Man and The Citizen
was influenced by the Declaration of Independence and the theories created during the Enlightenment.
It said, "
All men are born and remain free and equal in rights. They enjoy natural rights such as liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression
It also stated that taxes be based according to pay and that all have freedom of religion.
The Three Classes
- The clergy made up the first estate. The clergy was made up of individuals high in the church, royalty, and citizens from wealthy families that were high up in government.
- The nobles made up the second estate. They consisted of high up military members, people in the court system, other individuals within the church etc..
- The third estate was mostly peasants and working class. This was 98% of the French population (around 27 million people). There was a group of people that sat of the top of the third estate called the
. They were skilled workers, lawyers, bankers who led the third estate.
What was the French Revolution?
The French Revolution was similar to the American Revolution in that the people were mad about being taxed constantly by King Louis XVI.
France was divided into three social classes. The Clergy (First Estate), The Nobles (Second Estate), and the Working Class/Peasants (Third Class).
France was in serious debt due to the Seven Years War and American Revolutionary War. To make up for this debt, King Louis XVI taxed the people heavily. However, he only taxed the Third Estate. The First and Second Estate's were never taxed. This caused a serious uproar from the Third Estate and aided the revolution.
The French Revolution was influenced heavily from the American Revolution. It started and ended with a monarchy in power and was extremely bloody (guillotine).
invited people from other estates to help them write a constitution and new laws in government.
A few days later King Louis XVI locked their meeting doors so they couldn't "assemble" and truly be a
members moved to a nearby indoor tennis court and took their famous Tennis Court Oath.
They swore "
never to separate and to meet whenever the circumstances allowed them to until they established a sound and just constitution
Woman's March on Versailles
A ton of peasant women marched towards the city of Versailles shouting "bread! bread!" This was due to the famine going on in France and huge shortage of food there was. Women were frustrated with how cheap King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette had been. She was quoted as saying "let them eat cake" even though this was false.
The peasant women finally forced King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to ride with them back to Paris. They were quoted as saying. At least now we won't have to travel so far to see our king and queen" King Louis was a virtual prisoner in Paris for the next three years.
King Louis tried to escape in the following years from Paris with Marie Antoinette but a citizen holding a coin with the King's face on it spotted them. The King was quickly returned to Paris.
The Storming of the Bastille
French citizens gather in the city of Paris to gather weapons and prepare for revolt. They do this as a response to King Louis XVI sending 30,000 troops around the city to occupy and take control of Paris.
The citizens steal 28,000 muskets but they need gun powder for these weapons. The Bastille Prison, known as being a den of torture, holds an immense amount of gun powder and is eyed by the citizens.
The citizens storm and raid the Bastille to free any prisoners and gain as much supplies as possible to continue their revolt. This battle happened on July 14, 1789 and known as France's Revolution Day.
The National Assembly became the new force that started to control the citizens to a certain degree. This is ironic because they were the very group that cried to bring freedom and independence from monarchy to France. (This happens often in history)
Small revolutionary groups started to form against the National Assembly such as the
. A substantial amount of Jacobins were killed by the National Assembly military during a dispute after the Women's March on Versailles.
France started to fight nations across the world that held a monarch government and citizens were constantly gathering and fighting in France against each other as well.
To the right is Assassin's Creed version of the Storming of the Bastille which is pretty cool.
The Reign of Terror
(lawyer and politician) led revolutionaries on the France home front. He conducted trials against individuals who were accused of being traitors of France and supporters of King Louis XVI.
Around 40,000 people were executed by guillotine during The
Reign of Terror
. This consisted of clergy, nobles, middle-class citizens and peasants.
Within a year the
Reign of Terror
consumed those who started it. Robespierre was eventually taken captive by the people and beheaded himself. Executions slowed down drastically after this.
Monarchy to Monarchy
A young skilled military leader named
had been winning some major battles for France against other monarch countries.
He went from victorious general to political leader and soon became the Emperor of France. This was fairly easy for him to win over the people as he was seen as military hero and the country needed leadership again.
In the end the French Revolution went from one monarchy to another monarchy. However, many things were changed during the Revolution and Napoleon was a much better leader than King Louis XVI